A Time and Place for Healing to Begin
January 20, 2021 “What happens here, doesn’t stay here…”
A Time and Place for Healing to Begin
Pastor Timothy Hogan-Palazzo
Dear Church Family,
Tuesday evening, a picture immediately began to circulate following the memorial for 400,000 lives lost in our country to the COVID-19 virus. The picture was one ‘painted’ on the backdrop of a dark, royal blue sky at dusk. Four hundred pillars of light lined the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and, in the distance, stood the Washington Monument, flanked by columns of light. This scene marked a national service of mourning and remembrance, something I believe both theologians and psychologists would say was needed for many in this nation. A time to mark memorial and begin a process of healing. This is not a political statement: it is a fact of how the human mind and heart work.
So many lives have been lost and families have gone without memorials or funerals this past year, so many have had to forgo an event marking a time of mourning which often allows the healing to begin. Tuesday night was the time for it.
Before long, in a little under a month, we will be starting Lent. In the season of Lent, we often speak of giving something up, freeing up, if you will, and for what? Space to be in closer relationship or reminders of our relationship with our Creator. Lent is a time of reflection and contemplation, a time to explore our relationship with God and our faith journey. It is a very important time in our lives for reflection, healing and renewal.
Yet this year, it seems odd to ask people to think about what they may give up for Lent, given most feel they have given up much already. However, I have to wonder, from what you have given up, have you replaced it with thoughts of your relationship with God? Have we allowed the time and space created from giving stuff up to be filled with grousing and fretting over the state of our nation and world or our call to serve one another? Have you used this time to become one of the helpers (that Mr. Rogers would tell children to look for in times of trouble)?
It hurts my heart that, as a pastor (for that matter, as people, period), we’ve had to become so careful that whatever we say is not misconstrued as political-speak, in support of one candidate, one party, or the other. It makes me wonder what guides our thoughts or words? Have we used the pause for the wrong reason? Did we look at the memorial from a political place or did we see it from a place of pause to honor and remember?
I want to invite you all, every one of you, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Green Party, any party or no political persuasion to put aside your politics. Put aside all else and begin anew a practice of self-reflection and renewal, a time of relationship building with your Creator. Create space that instead of longing for something that is not, long for something that can be, a closer relationship, a stronger walk with God. Create a space and time that all actions you do, all words you share, come from a place of faith driving your words and deeds.
Take a pause, grieve for the moments you may need and then begin to look anew at how you move forward in your relationship with God. That’s what a time of memorial, that’s what a season of Lent, a time of giving things up and setting aside is for.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 35, verse 11, the shortest verse in most versions of the Bible, we find these two words: “Jesus wept.” Jesus wept over the loss of his dear friend Lazarus; he had moments of mourning the loss of his best friend. This verse, I believe, is important for multiple reasons, Jesus’ humanity shown through brightly in these moments and Jesus allowed himself the time to mourn before he could go forward. The mortality of healing is one we all need.
So, I invite you today to pray with me: “God, grant us the space and time to heal. Give us a heart that is softened and a mind that is open to your call to serve as we move forward from our grief of loss. May we come from this time of mourning to be about building relationships and loving our neighbors and seeking your face in one another. Be our vision anew we pray. Amen.
In our daily prayers…
You are invited to join your faith family in prayer as we lift up:
· Greyson Greenawalt
· All Front-line Health Care and Essential Workers
· Katy Mahon
· Mina Hoover, returned to GMC Danville
· Continued prayers for Clarence Snider for healing
· The Enders Family, as they remember Deniene · The family of Anna Showers, former member of Saint Paul’s · The Spickler family as they mourn the loss of a long-time family pet, Lily · George Cartin, medical concerns · The Franciscus / Knelly family, Shirley Knelly, Colleen’s grandmother, has died today · The many who are suffering from the COVID virus, as well as all those caring for them at home and in hospitals and nursing facilities
A Word of Thanks, a Word of Welcome
Please join me in expressing our appreciation to both Polly Barrall and Ken Bennett for their service to Saint Paul’s as Deacon/Secretary and Trustee/Vice President respectively. Polly and Ken both have served in the Class of 2020. Polly joined Consistory to fill an unexpired term in the class of 2020 and has been a wonderful support in sharing her gifts with us and serving as Deacon and Consistory Secretary. Ken served as Vice President and Trustee over the past three years and will begin to serve on the Pastor Parish Relations Team immediately. The gifts of time and talent the two of them have shared has been greatly appreciated, especially during a year like 2020. One additional note for the class of 2020, Earl Fisher, Trustee, also came on to fill an unexpired term for 2020 and will remain serving in this capacity and will be a part of the class of 2021.
At the same time, we say thank you, we also say welcome to the class of 2023!
We welcome Rhonda Newton, Deacon, Class of 2023: Rhonda brings with her talents and gifts as a former church leader on boards in both the Presbyterian and UCC churches. Rhonda has a long career as a grant writer and currently works for Bucknell University. Rhonda is married to famed actor Steve Anderson (Herod, in our most recent Virtual Christmas Pageant), they live in Milton and share their home with Malcolm and Mandy (fur babies)!
We welcome Jen Arnold, Deacon, Class of 2023: Jen is a mother of five, is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), works for Geisinger Medical Center and has always had a heavy involvement in community organizations - most recently heavily involved with the work of the Donald Heiter Community Center. Jen is married to Chris Arnold and they live in Lewisburg with three children still at home and three, four-legged children, Jax, Willow and Izzy.
We welcome Lisa Bernard, Trustee, Class of 2023: Lisa has served for several years on the Board of Deacons of the Presbyterian Church and has served in leadership as well with the Eastern Union County Food Bank. Lisa and husband Bill live in Lewisburg and share their home with their cats, Freckles, Chester, Sully, and now Delilah (new to the house) and occasionally, with a college-aged daughter (also our talented Liturgical Dancer) Emily Bernard.
Please keep all your Consistory members and church leaders in your prayer as we enter a new year.
Ways to stay connected…
While we already know 2021 has begun a lot differently than so many hoped for, we also know we won’t ever stop being the church, seeking to find God in the ordinary and serving others! There are neighbors to help, there is music to be made (and practiced), there are journeys to be traveled, and as we move forward in our daily lives in 2021, may we always remember we do it all together as one big faith family. There is something for everyone! So, as we begin thinking of ways we can once again be together and be the church in old and new ways alike, I wanted to share a few options for 2021 with you. Some are already under way and some are being planned.
See the next several stories below…
Parking Lot Pick-Up Pancakes To Go Shrove Tuesday Celebration!
So, we can’t get together for a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper…hmmm. Well we may have an alternative for you. A Parking Lot Pick-Up Pancakes to Go Shrove Tuesday Celebration! (Say that three times fast.)
As we prepare for Lent, your Mission Team’s leaders are considering ways to help pay for the Summer Mission Trip. They suggested providing pancakes for dinner pick-up in the parking lot on Shrove Tuesday. This event will allow for us to not only offer pancakes, but to send Ashes home with you for our LIVE Steam Ash Wednesday Service and provide you with a Lenten Devotional as well.
Shrove Tuesday is February 16 this year, so watch for upcoming information about pancakes and ashes and Lent!
For our 2020 Lenten Devotions, we would like to invite you to consider sharing your faith story with us. If you would like to volunteer to provide a faith story for the devotion, it can even be a hymn or song that inspires you, a scripture and or a prayer, please contact Pastor Tim through the church office. Pastor Tim will be reaching out as well to ask for inspiring faith journey stories as a way to walk through Lent together. We are looking forward in sharing together through our Lenten Journey.
The Christmas Pageant was such a success and enjoyed by so many, participants and viewers alike, that we are exploring an Easter Pageant as well. Watch for news coming out about how you can participate. Thespians be on the ready!
2nd Annual Saint Paul’s Got Talent Show
Last year we offered our 1st Annual Saint Paul’s Got Talent Show. We can’t let times like we are currently in stop us from repeating that talent-packed fun evening. So…Russ Wynn, our wonderful Minister of Music, is researching a possible Virtual Talent Show! Warm up your pipes, limber those legs, and start practicing your talent. Watch this space for more information soon!
2020 Financial News and Giving Statements
Your 2020 Giving Statements are being prepared and will be available soon along with copies of the 2020 Budget review and the 2021 Budget as well. In the absence of an in-person gathering for an all-congregational annual review, we will provide a full packet of all financials to members and friends of Saint Paul’s including all those who supported the church financially.
Home Brew Wednesdays
Each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., grab your favorite beverage and join us via Zoom! We gather for our theological book discussion, share a few laughs, pray together, all from the comfort of our homes. Add us to your Wednesday evening calendar! What a great way to spend the winter weeks together!
Our current book for discussion is: “You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God’s Presence and Power” by Max Lucado. This book takes us through the Gospel of John and the miracles he recorded, asking some life-searching questions.
If you would like a hard copy of the book, please reach out to Donna in the church office (570) 568-1433 or you may find the book electronically on Amazon Kindle as well. Join us on Zoom, Meeting ID: 5705681433; Passcode: 0501.
Sundays with David and Friends
There’s a great option for adult Sunday School on Sunday mornings at 9:15 a.m. led by David Reid. Each season the group gathers via Zoom, and in this season, they are studying the Psalms. All are welcome, if you know nothing of the Bible or are a Bible guru, your voice and presence are welcome. Look for the group on Zoom. Meeting ID: 5705681433; Passcode 0501.
“Take Me Home Country Roads”
Take Me Home Country Roads…to a place where we are planning our 2021 Summer Mission Trip! We will depart, Sunday, June 6, following worship and return Saturday, June 12. We will spend a week in the mountains and hills around Pipestem, West Virginia, helping with our neighbors there. We will be staying in cabins, possibly have our own chef along for some great food, if history repeats. We will be offered several cultural adventures around the area after each day’s work.
An informational meeting will be held Sunday, January 17, 6:30 p.m., via Zoom (Meeting ID 5705681433; PW: 0501). Come and learn more!
We are excited to be able to offer this great opportunity for our church family! Schedule your vacation time now and plan to join us June 6 to June 12, 2021! There will be something to do for everyone! Oh, and we have some great experienced Mission Trip leaders going with us too!
Fresh Express - Two Monthly Distributions Continue!
Fresh Express, our local food distribution program in conjunction with the Central Penn Food Bank, continues into 2021 on the second and fourth Thursdays monthly. The program is currently distributing grocery boxes of mixed perishable and non-perishable food items to between 115 and 120 families each distribution. Extra or left-over items are being distributed to organizations in need in our area as well. Should you wish more information about this program, contact General Al Henry, Earl Fisher or Beth Vincent!
“Reach out and touch…and let the smile of God touch through you.” (as the old hymn goes)
No, really. Reach out and touch someone. Yes, for years I worked for a telecommunications company and their advertising slogan then was, “Reach out and Touch…” I am attempting to stay in touch with everyone I can. However, if you have not heard from me in a while, I would love to hear from you. So pick up your phone and give me a call, drop me an email or card and just say hi. This time, while we have been at this now more than nine months, doesn’t seem to get easier. I continue to miss you in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings, hearing you laugh and share stories in the Fellowship Hall, getting to be gathered around the tables in the Fellowship Hall packed in for a meal…wherever it is, I miss you and I know we all miss one another. So, don’t hesitate to reach out, not just to me, but one another. A phone call, a card, an email or note, especially during these long days of winter reaching out will certainly be welcome.
All too often I hear, “well I don’t want to be a bother…” or “they may be busy…” or “I’m not sure they would want to hear from me.” Just reach out, let them know you miss them, you are thinking of them or just to say hello. If you are thinking of others, I’m pretty sure they are thinking of you. If you need a number or an address and don’t have it, call the church office, let us help you stay connected.
Coffee, Tea, or…Chocolate (What did you expect?):
Order your Fair-Trade Equal Exchange products. All proceeds benefit our Saint Paul’s Mission Fund while all Fair-Trade purchases go to benefit independent farmers. The order form is now online via our website.
Products are: Mind, Body and Soul Ground Coffee, Regular, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Colombian Whole Bean Coffee, Regular, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Decaf, Ground, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Decaf, Whole Bean, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Fellowship Blend, Regular, 16 ounce, $12 per bag; Fellowship Blend, Decaf, 16 ounce, $12 per bag; French Roast K-Cups, Regular, 12 pods per box, $10 per box; Unwind K-Cups, Decaf, 12 pods per box, $10 per box; Black Tea, 20 bags per box $5 per box; Decaf English Breakfast Tea, 20 bags per box, $5 per box; Very Dark Chocolate (71%), $4 per bar; Milk Chocolate (43%), $4 per bar.
Upcoming Events and Celebrations
This week @ Saint Paul’s:
Wed., Jan. 20 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Church Office Open
Thur., Jan. 21 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Church Office Open
Fri., Jan. 22 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Church Office Open
Sun., Jan. 24 Happy Birthday Cory Mahon
9:15 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Worship LIVE (https://tinyurl.com/ran9suv ) / or
Mon., Jan. 25 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Church Office Open
Tue., Jan. 26 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Church Office Open